First published poem was Uncle Dog, title also of my first book, and I can't stop writing about 'em. Latest, a work in progress, is a chapbook and, in addition, a DVD titled The Dogs in My Life. Among other things, the new poems raise the question:
After 15,000 years of domestication, what does it mean to be a dog anymore?
Naturally, I was drawn to James Vlaho's recent feature in the NY Times Magazine, 7.12.08, "Archaeologists and geneticists estimate that the domestication of wolves (Canis lupus) into dogs began at least 15,000 years ago." See Vlaho's "Pill-Popping Pets."
Excerpts, jottings, notes (with thanks to Mr. Vlaho):
"Americans are spending millions on mood-altering drugs for their cats and dogs. Is it because we've driven them mad?"
Home-Alone Dogs. -- 42% of American dogs sleep in the same beds as their owners...
Dogs suffer from separation anxiety and compulsive disorders like hours and hours of tail-chasing, and more tthan 20% of American dogs are overweight. Pharmaceutical companies to the rescue. Slentrol, approved by the FDA in 2007 is the country's first canine anti-obesity medication. And, for aging dogs, Pfizer's Anipryl "treats cognitive dysfunction" to help absent-minded dogs remember... "For lonely dogs with separation anxiety, Eli Lilly brought to market its own drug Reconcile last year. The only difference between it and Prozac is that Reconcile is chewable and tastes like beef."
"Marketers have a new name for the age-old tendency to view animals as furry versions of ourselves: 'humanization,' a trend that is fueling the explosive growth of the pet industry and the rise of modern pet pharma..."
"Americans forked over $49 billion for pet products and services last year, up $11.5 billion from 2003; other than consumer electronics, pet products are the fastest-growing retail segment...
The market expansion is being driven both by more pets and by more spending per pet, esp. by affluent baby boomers whose children have graduated from college... "the fastest growing category is health care, with treatments formerly reserved for people--root canals, chemotherapy, liposction, mood pills--being administered to pets."
."...77 percent of dog owners and 52 percent of cat owners gave their animals some sort of medication in 2006, both up by at least 25 percentage points from 2004. 'Owners want their pets to be more like little well-behaved children.'"
For samples, see Beau Blue's Cruzio Cafe presents Shelby the Dog, Clancy... with more on their way...
see main stage!
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...